The National Employment Standards (NES) and all modern awards currently contain an entitlement for all employees to access up to five days of unpaid Family & Domestic Violence Leave per year.

As part of a review into Family & Domestic Violence Leave which commenced in 2021, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) issued a provisional decision on the 16th May 2022 which outlined that modern awards should be varied to provide for ten paid days’ Family & Domestic Violence Leave to achieve the “modern awards objective”.

The modern awards objective per the Fair Work Act is to “ensure that modern awards, together with the NES, provide a fair and relevant minimum safety net of terms and conditions.”

The FWC have indicated that their provisional view is that the insertion of a model term for paid Family & Domestic Violence Leave entitlements in modern awards would have a significant positive impact on the promotion of social inclusion through increased workforce participation. In other words, providing paid leave for those employees dealing with Family & Domestic Violence Leave would help to ensure that those persons remained in the workforce and had the best chance of addressing issues caused by Family & Domestic Violence Leave without loss of income.

 

What will the new entitlement look like?​

The FWC’s provisional view was that the model term to be included in modern awards should have the following key aspects:

    • Ten days paid leave per year for full-time employees, with a pro-rata entitlement for part-time employees. No paid leave for casuals;
    • Paid at the employee’s base rate of pay;
    • The entitlement should accumulate progressively throughout the year (in line with entitlements such as personal/carer’s leave);
    • The entitlement should accrue year to year but be subject to a “cap” whereby the total available accrual is not to exceed ten days at any given time. This will also have the effect of operating as a “phasing-in” mechanism for employers.
    • The entitlement should allow for leave to be taken in advance, by agreement.
      Further hearings will be scheduled for the matter to be considered further.

 

What about employees not covered by modern awards?​

The FWC has no power to amend entitlements for employees not covered by modern awards. However, when the FWC originally introduced an entitlement to unpaid Family & Domestic Violence Leave in modern awards, the Government was quick to mirror this entitlement for all employees by inserting the entitlement into the NES (which apply to all employees).

The FWC have also invited the Government to explain its intentions regarding any amendments to the NES to deal with paid Family & Domestic Violence Leave. We will of course keep you up to date as matters progress.

 

About HR Connect

HR Connect is one of Australia’s leading providers of HR and workplace safety advice service, designed to help small business owners make confident and compliant business decisions.

 

Disclaimer

The information provided in these blog articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact HR Connect for advice.

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